All you need to know about General Anxiety Disorder?

WHAT IS GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER


General Anxiety Disorder is the excessive uncontrollable and irrational worry about a wide range of issues, events or activities. It will often interfere with daily functioning.


GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER SYMPTOMS


EXCESSIVE WORRY


Unable to rationalise worrying thoughts even when there is little or no reason to worry.


RESTLESSNESS AND IRRITABILITY


This is caused by a sense of inner tension. When this tension happens, you may get annoyed easily and feel like you need to move around. You find it hard to relax and do the things you enjoy doing. You may also experience crankiness, nervousness, over excitedness or will have very little patience.


TROUBLE SLEEPING/TIRED ALL OF THE TIME


When we go to bed we often lay awake with all the thoughts and worries racing around in our minds mind but the mind and body needs to be in a relaxed state to be able to sleep. Lack of good quality sleep will result in tiredness during the day and in turn heighten anxiety.


EXHAUSTION


Lack of good quality sleep, constant worrying and inner tension will all lead to us feeling exhausted mentally and physically.


PALPITATIONS


These make you feel like your heart is beating too fast or too hard, skipping a beat or a fluttering sensation in your chest, and can last from a few seconds to a few minutes. Palpitations are a very common symptom of anxiety and on their own are not dangerous.


SWEATING/TREMBLING/MUSCLE TENSION


All of the symptoms come from the body's fight or flight response to perceived danger. Adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. This causes all the systems in the body to speed up causing hot flushes. The body then sweats to enable it to cool down and to make the skin slippery in order to escape from the predators grasp.


During this response all the blood containing vital rich oxygen and glucose is moved to the large muscles ready to fight or flight. This causes the tense feeling in the muscles and whilst this happens the blood vessels constrict causing a tingling and/or trembling sensation.


DIFFICULTY CONCENTRATING


This occurs due to the mind being bombarded with consistent worries and concerns in the state concentration becomes almost impossible.


HOW DO I CONTROL GENERAL ANXIETY DISORDER


KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS


It is really important to know what triggers your anxiety so you can work on changing the experience behind them. This is a huge step in controlling and overcoming anxiety.


UNDERSTAND YOUR HARMFUL THOUGHT PROCESSES


Becoming aware of how you think and perceive different situations will help you see the harmful effects they have on you. Once you are aware of these you can then work on changing your thought processes into more helpful and rational ones.


RECOGNISE YOUR BEHAVIOURS


Recognising how you react to your triggers is just as important as knowing what your triggers are. Once you are aware of your behaviours, you can begin to see whether they are helping you control your anxiety or feeding it.


TAKE REGULAR EXERCISE


Aerobic exercise has been shown to, decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilise mood, improve sleep and improve self-esteem. About five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects. When you exercise endorphins and other natural brain chemicals are released and these enhance your sense of well-being. Exercise is also a great tool for diverting your mind from the things that you were anxious about. Moving your body decreases muscle tension, lowering the body’s contribution to feeling anxious.


SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP


If your anxiety symptoms last for more than half of your week and for a period of six months or more, or you’re feeling worried, nervous and overwhelmed so much, to the point you are unable to engage in healthy lifestyle habits (eating, sleeping, exercise, socialising) or function properly at work, home or in relationships, now is the time to seek help. Start by seeing your GP for a confirmed diagnosis. Your GP may offer to refer you for counselling or therapy and may give you medication to help. There is no shame in asking for help and taking medication to get you back in a position to start learning how to manage your anxiety.


EAT A HEALTHY DIET


The food we eat can play a big role in our mood and how we feel.


Coming up: A new blog looking at how and what foods can affect our mood and either help or affect our anxiety.

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